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Auckland Uni. Welcomes Government Funding Success


For Immediate Release 14 April 2004

UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND WELCOMES GOVERNMENT FUNDING SUCCESS

Nine University of Auckland-led research projects have attracted funding from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Most projects involve partnerships with other institutions and industry.

University of Auckland researchers have welcomed the funding, citing the much-needed support it will bring to the University's widely-recognised research strengths.

The successful University of Auckland-led projects are concerned with:

* Developing new styles of quality New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc wine which will attract a premium on the international market. New yeast strains that produce novel styles of wine will be developed through the new Wine Science Programme at The University of Auckland in collaboration with the wine industry and HortResearch.

* Developing the techniques necessary for producing high-performance, food grade and biocompatible polymer coatings. The ultimate aim is to develop an improved technique for depositing coatings of high performance thermo plastics on steel and aluminium.

* Developing intelligent membranes, coatings and micropump drug-delivery systems based on conducting polymers. This nanotechnology project brings together industry and researchers from three faculties: Medical & Health Sciences, Science, and Engineering.

* Screening for pregnancy endpoints by developing algorithms, incorporated into software, that predict the three major diseases of late pregnancy. Direct healthcare costs of these diseases are estimated at $41 billion globally, and there is no effective method of predicting their presence in early pregnancy. The project brings together professors from nine universities in Europe, the United States and Auckland.

* Developing innovative piezoelectric switches for optical fibres. If successful, these switches will be smaller, faster, more accurate, require less energy and be many times cheaper than current optical switch techniques.

* Designing, developing and manufacturing advanced composite structures. The team behind the project have strong research links with international organisations and are affiliated with the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials (a joint venture between The University of Auckland and Forest Research).

* Developing bioengineering applications of musculoskeletal modelling, with the goal of creating a platform for the creation of a new bioengineering industry in New Zealand. The project involves collaboration with New Zealand and international institutions, including AgResearch, Massey University, Otago University, Middlemore Hospital, the University of Adelaide and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

* Designing retrofit solutions for New Zealand's earthquake-risk multi-storey buildings, in a collaboration between the Schools of Engineering at the Universities of Auckland and Canterbury.

* Transforming light metals manufacturing in New Zealand, a project with strong industry representation and partnerships from the University of Waikato and Auckland University of Technology. The research focuses on new materials produced from aluminium, magnesium and titanium parent metals.

University of Auckland researchers are also involved in several other successful projects led by other institutions.

ENDS

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